Good Shepherd AMI Montessori Training Centre- Internationally recognised pre-school teacher training institute
Dr Montessori being welcomed by the children of the Kotahena Montessori. Also in the picture are Mario and Renilde being presented with flowers by a little child - 1948
Following the footsteps of Dr. Maria Montessori, the genius who introduced world renowned pre-school method and the founder of the AMI method of educating children, Good Shepherd Maria Montessori Training Centre in Colombo, has produced hundreds of Montessori teachers who serve in Sri Lanka and the world around.
For more than 70 years this hallowed institution has been silently shaping the minds of thousands of school leaving young women, some of whom are now teaching and guiding toddlers and world around.
" Handed over to the Good Shepherd Sisters by Dr. Maria Montessori herself in 1944, the legacy continues with the mission “to understand that the true spirit of teaching is in the imparting of knowledge, the building of a good character and with love and dedication to be faithful custodians of the Montessori Method’’
Founded and run by the Good Shepherd Sisters-a congregation of reverent nuns in the Roman Catholic Church-over the years the Montessori Training Centre has produced hundreds of highly qualified and internationally recognised preschool or Montessori teachers who are now serving in countries like Australia, New Zealand, the United States and Canada.
Affiliated to the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) in Amsterdam in the Netherlands, Good Shepherd Maria Montessori Training Centre is the only authorized AMI Montessori Training Centre in Sri Lanka.
Handed over to the Good Shepherd Sisters by Dr. Maria Montessori herself in 1944, the legacy continues with the mission “to understand that the true spirit of teaching is in the imparting of knowledge, the building of a good character and with love and dedication to be faithful custodians of the
Situated at St. Bridget’s Convent, 85, C.W.W. Kannangara Mawatha, Colombo 07, the centre has a commendable vision, “To communicate an understanding of education as a help to life, nurtured by love, compassion, patience, care and commitment to the needs of little children the world over, practising the principles of Dr. Maria Montessori’s method of Education”.
A milestone in Montessori education in Sri Lanka
In 1944 Dr. Maria Montessori who visited Sri Lanka to train teachers and introduce AMI method handed over her pedagogical legacy to Rev. Mother Immaculate Conception Hughes, Provincial Superior of the Good Shepherd Sisters, who became her extended family, under the umbrella of the AMI. Good Shepherd Convent, Kotahena started its first Children’s House with Sr. Ita Cleery as Directress in 1944 .
Having completed conducting a Training Course in Koddaikanal, India, on the invitation of the Ceylon Teachers Association, in 1944 Dr. Maria Montessori along with her son Mario came over to conduct the first-ever Training Course in Sri Lanka.At the Training Course in Kodaikanal, India , a few Sri Lankans including the late Joyce Goonesekera and Lena Wickramaratne too, followed and successfully completed the course. At the course conducted at Good Shepherd Convent, Kotahena, Colombo 13, Joyce and Lena assisted Dr. Maria Montessori.
The course was participated in by 300 principals of schools, teachers, lecturers and their wives from universities and training colleges, young students from schools, mothers interested in helping their children and many Good Shepherd Sisters, who later opened children’s houses in their convents in different parts of the island.
At the conclusion of the course in 1944 ( July – September ) those who attended lectures having the required credits in the written and practical examinations were awarded certificates, which were endorsed after practice in a recognized institute. This was the beginning of training Montessori teachers who studied AMI method of educating children.
In the same year Leena Wickramaratne started her House of Children in Colpetty and later in her home town, Kandy. Having given the initiation to this world renowned method Montessori teaching to Sri Lanka, Dr. Maria Montessori returned to the country in 1948 at the invitation of the Government of Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) for the Celebration of its Independence.
In 1957 under the auspices of the AMI, A. M. Joosten, was appointed the personal representative of Mario Montessori and Director of the Good Shepherd Maria Montessori Training Centre, St. Bridget’s Convent, Colombo 07.
" In the same year Leena Wickramaratne started her House of Children in Colpetty and later in her home town, Kandy. Having given the initiation to this world renowned method, Dr. Maria Montessori returned to the country in 1948 at the invitation of the Government..."
Sr. Ita Cleery was appointed as the First Directress aided by Joyce Goonesekera, which position she held till Sr. M. John Bosco Curley succeeded her in 1961 . Sr. John Bosco worked with zeal to spread the Montessori Method.
A.M. Joosten visited Sri Lanka every year, presided at the Practical Examinations, Awarded Diplomas, visited the Children’s Houses affiliated to the Training Centre and conducted Lectures for those interested in Montessori Education until his death in 1980.
Joyce Goonesekera continued to work unstintingly for the Children of Sri Lanka, opening Children’s Houses in many parts of the island. Many students who studied at these children’s houses and now adult would witness what a strong and important foundation as children they received by going through the AMI Montessori education. In recognition of her work for the children and the young girls Joyce was presented the Deshabandu Title by the Government.
AMI Training in Sinhala
Initially there was a crying need for Montessori education in Sinhala as the course was conducted only in English.
In 1963 Srs. John Bosco and Stanislaus Vas visited Mario with the intention of requesting permission for a course to be conducted in Sinhala and for Dr. Montessori’s Book ‘The Secret of Childhood ’ to be translated into Sinhala.
Sr. Stanislaus did not return to Sri Lanka but stayed on in Calcutta , India to do her Trainers Training under Mr. A.M. Joosten, to join the Staff of the Good Shepherd Training Centre on her return in 1964. The first ever course in Sinhala was started with 14 students and it continues to date with the numbers increasing every year.
In 1976 Sr. John Bosco was succeeded by Sr. Stanislaus Vas as Directress of the Training Centre. Sr. John Bosco returned to Ireland in 1986 and in 1994 she was called to her Eternal Reward.
In 1985 Sr. Benildus was appointed as the Directress of the Training Centre and under her leadership Training Centre celebrated the Golden Jubilee of Montessori work in Sri Lanka in 1994. This took place with great pomp and pageantry. She was again succeeded by Sr. Stanislaus Vas in 1994 and she continues to lead the Training Centre to date.
“The large number of our Montessori diploma holders are working in the many children’s Houses that have come into existence in Sri Lanka , some opening their own Children’s Houses. Others have gone further a field and are devoting themselves to the service of children in various parts of the world. Some others are working in the Primary Departments of the Public and International Schools and their services are much appreciated,” says Rev. Sr. Stanislaus Vas, the present Directress of Montessori Training Centre.
“Our beginnings were small as we conducted lectures in St. Bridget’s Montessori House of Children, after School hours. With gratitude we acknowledge the generosity of our benefactors Mr. & Mrs, Ananda Senarath for we now have a beautiful two storied building where we have our lectures and demonstration classes, since then we have had more extensions with a Practice class , a library and an atrium, yet again through the generosity of another benefactor” Sr. Vas elaborated.
“It is not enough for the teacher to love the child. She must first love and understand the universe. She must prepare herself, and truly work at it.” ― Dr. Maria Montessori
Applications called for AMI Montessori teacher training
AMI Good Shepherd Maria Montessori Training Centre, the only AMI authorised Montessori training Course in Sri Lanka is now in the process of calling for application for its Diploma Course (two years) at the end of which the successful candidates are offered an internationally recogniaed diploma from the Association Montessori Internationale in the Netherlands.
Conducted in both English and Sinhala languages, the closing date for the application is May 10.
Further information can be obtained by calling 0112697896 (From 8.30 a.m. to 4.00 p.m.) or emailing email@example.com and writing to The Secretary, Montessori Training Centre, St Bridget’s Convent, Colombo 7.